He laced his fingers through hers, and the edges of her lips instantly tipped up. He smiled back, a trace of nervousness in the demeanour. Their coffees were set aside, ignored. This must be the first time they were holding hands.

Something flashed across my vision before a loud thud shot through my ears. My body jolted in response. I peered up to find the source - Darren. He had dropped something on my table. "What's the matter with you?" I said sharply.

"I finally found it." He said, pointing to the object that had just landed infront of me.

Beside my unfinished plate of salad was a thick book. 'Loving The Chains That Bind - Stockholm Syndrome' was penned on the cover of it. I exhaled a sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose. "I don't have Stockholm Syndrome." I made it clear.

Darren threw a small washcloth over his shoulder before dragging a stool towards the table and settling himself on it. He cocked his head toward the young couple seated at a table across ours. "You almost scared off those people over there by gawking at them like you've never seen a couple before. Your lunch break is over, by the way, and you haven't even touched your salad." He said.

"I wasn't... gawking at them." I was a little embarrassed because I had been sort of observing them.

"You were practically searing holes through them with those big eyes of yours. It's creepy." He mimicked a shivering person.

A laugh escaped, in spite of my attempts to hold it in. "And what does that have to do with this book?"

He inched closer and spoke in a lower voice. "I just think maybe you're... missing someone you aren't supposed to."

My smile wore away and I felt a burn in my chest. A week had passed since I last saw Harry. He had promised that he would somehow find a way to see me, but so far it he had not been true to his words. During these past few days I had struggled to appear collected, I had strived to put on a smile even.

My family and I were finally in a state of peace, free of any vile disturbance and I needed to show that I was happy about that, or else they would think something was amiss. And so I had been putting on an act.

They weren't aware of how I cried myself to sleep whenever the lights were out. I was in the company of more people now but I had never felt so alone. No one knew what I had really been through the past few months and even if they did, they would undoubtedly judge and criticise me and rob me of my dignity, if I even had any to begin with. I felt that Harry was the only person who would understand me, only he could offer me the comfort I was in dire need of now.
And I feared that I might never see him again.

After all, I had given up my virginity to him. That was the objective of the whole Baby Doll thing right? Giving myself to him felt so right at the time but now I was drowning in regret. There was a high possibility that Harry merely gave into his father's pressure. It hurt to think that he never meant it when he told me he loved me. And his long absence was only feeding my doubts.

So much of my trust in him had perished over the past few days but I still missed him terribly. I was ashamed of myself when I had thoughts of going back to the mansion. Sure, this may all seem morbidly wrong in the perspective of an outsider but it was impossible to just stop loving someone.

"You aren't getting paid for lazing around! Get off your bums!" Gretchen Grimm yelled from the counter, her hoarse voice unfitting for a woman. She was in charge of Peppercat Cafe, and she took full advantage of her position. She was about a head taller than me, but her badly maintained red hair contributed to her towering height.

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